Another VC appointed by Obama. After naming Karen Gordon Mills, a former venture capitalist, as the head of the SBA, President elect Barack Obama tapped Julius Genachowski to run the FCC. Genachowski is also a former VC investor, and has spent significant time as an internet executive. Wired has news that Obama has also appointed an ex-VC as a member of his transition team. What do you think — do Obama's appointees have what it takes to look out for small companies?
Executive Epistolary. The email marketing company Exact Target has compiled "Letters to the C-Suite" from some of the top marketing gurus out there. Included are advice-heavy letters from Andy Sernowitz, the folks behind Marketing Profs, and Joseph Jaffe, president of the marketing firm crayon. Rohit Bhargava has this advice: "Lock customer service in a room with marketing. If you think I'm exaggerating, I'm not. Only good things will happen if you force these two groups to talk to each other in a way that they usually don't. Maybe you need to literally lock them in a room, or change a seating arrangement, or set up a buddy system. Whatever you do, by getting these groups to communicate more, you'll uncover (and start to fix) problems you didn't even realize you had." (Via Bhargava's Influential Marketing)
Finding a new model. Fred Wilson, an inveterate blogger — and a VC investor at NYC's Union Square Ventures — considers the last year and wonders whether or not our classic economic models need an overhaul. "The old rules certainly don't work for many (most?) businesses anymore and they probably don't work for the economists either," writes Wilson. And Wilson offers up Tim O'Reilly's sage advice for start-ups: "1. work on something that matters more than money; 2. Create more value than you capture (that's the kind of DNA that's winning the day now ; 3. Take the long view."
Using the recession to your benefit. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that companies are cutting back so aggressively that they are actually increasing their productivity. The drop in economic output has not kept pace with mounting job losses—meaning businesses are squeezing more from their remaining workers. Kelly Spors at Independent Street argues the productivity boost demonstrates how companies can use a recession to slim down and improve efficiency. She writes, "Small businesses by nature are nimble and can find creative ways to eke more out of their people and their operations."
The best email marketing campaigns. The results of MarketingSherpa's annual awards are in. The best of more than 300 submissions are here, and you can get a useful glimpse at winning campaigns from large companies like Dell and SAP. Oh, and you can learn from the U.S. Army's email recruiting as well.